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They don't make em like they used to

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They don't make em like they used to

Old 06-29-19, 07:58 AM
  #1  
Johno59
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1949 Sunbeam - they don't make em like they used to

When working on these bikes there is a profound awareness that it was expected these bikes would be dismantled for maintenance 50, 60, 90 and even 116 years later and put back tegether for the road.
Never ceases to amaze me


Oil filler hole for headset bearings. After nearly 70 years the tiny 2mm bolt slackens so you can rotate the cover cap and oil the bearing.
  1. Still nice and lubed. Note the bolt securing the seatpost stay that helps removing the rear wheel.

Virtually no wear after 70 years in the little old oil bath chain case.


Working on old Sunbeams I am always astonished how every bolt - even the tiniest like this one, require only few degrees of turn with a tool before you can rotate the bolt out with just your fingers.


The only thing stuck was the drive side cotter pin. Offered it up to the vice for pressing it out.


Spanner placed over the cotter pin head, nut put back on the pin, vice jaws press against the nut and clearence provided by the inserted spanner means all the pressure is attempting to push the cotter pin out of the crank.

Last edited by Johno59; 06-29-19 at 08:39 AM.
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Old 06-29-19, 08:45 AM
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Cool!

Do you have a pic of the bike before starting disassembly?
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Old 06-29-19, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy View Post
Cool!

Do you have a pic of the bike before starting disassembly?


The fenders have no rust which is unusual as they get most the road salt. That suggests to me this was a fair whether only bike


The 1984 Campy Delta and the Shimano AX shamelessly copied these centre pull calipers 40 years later.


The patron Saint of Travellers needs to be on your bell.


Never seen a 'rising sun' decal for a Sunbeam before this one.


The 'Little Old Oil Bath Chain Case' was almost dent free.


This tail-light was German!
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Old 06-29-19, 09:20 AM
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I'm not so familiar with really old bikes-

What is it? It looks really cool- and in really great shape.

70 years old? With a German tail light?
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Old 06-29-19, 09:47 AM
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Sunbeams are considered by what you'd call a New York City Bike Snob as the best bicycles ever made. The real anally constrained consider any Sunbeam after WW1 as junk - which says more about them than the bicycle.

This one utilizes parts that were manufactured in Wolverhampton but assembled in London and are thus considered the last of the real Sunbeams before Raleigh acquired Sunbeam, and many of the old marques, and proceeded to destroy the British bike industry.

Before WW1 a Sunbeam cost a working man 6 months salary. They were very expensive but the level of quality was there before WW2 and hence the fact pulling them apart is a piece of cake compared to all other bicycles, even those a quarter of their age.
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Old 06-29-19, 09:48 AM
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I love St Christopher bells. They were an expensive luxury. I can imagine how some father felt, while just snugging up the last screw on the bell, to "protect" his daughter as she traveled. Or maybe wife, or mistress.
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Old 06-29-19, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
I love St Christopher bells. They were an expensive luxury. I can imagine how some father felt, while just snugging up the last screw on the bell, to "protect" his daughter as she traveled. Or maybe wife, or mistress.
This one belonged to a nun.
I don't know but I've been told......
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Old 06-29-19, 10:06 AM
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Not my thing really, but gotta appreciate the craftsmanship.
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Old 06-29-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Johno59 View Post
This one belonged to a nun.
I don't know but I've been told......
Originally Posted by Fahrenheit531 View Post
Not my thing really, but gotta appreciate the craftsmanship.
The thing is the quality of the steel. Obviously the design technology is very restrictive but the lack of deep destructive rust means a hundred years later in 2019 it comes apart.
Any metal bicycle manufactured in the last 30 years will be a complete right off in 50 years or less. I have rebuilt 1980s steel bikes wherein the seatpost cost 1000 dollars to remove. If made of carbon fiber make that ten years and it's sponge.
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Old 06-29-19, 11:27 AM
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Great pics! That chaincase is cool.
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Old 06-29-19, 12:08 PM
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That bike cost a worker 6 months wages you say, so the worker bought the best he could afford and probably paid saved up cash or installments on a lay away plan. These days in the US the average middle class worker pays 35K for a low end SUV that will never go off road over a 72 month repayment schedule. Most of those will be traded in for newer models within 3 to 5 years in an unending cycle of debt.
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Old 06-29-19, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
I love St Christopher bells. They were an expensive luxury. I can imagine how some father felt, while just snugging up the last screw on the bell, to "protect" his daughter as she traveled. Or maybe wife, or mistress.
I have one of those. My dad had it on his 60s, Coppertone, Schwinn Suburban. Found it tucked away in his tool chest when we were clearing out the estate. It has a very pleasant "ding".
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Old 06-29-19, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Reynolds 531 View Post
I love St Christopher bells. They were an expensive luxury. I can imagine how some father felt, while just snugging up the last screw on the bell, to "protect" his daughter as she traveled. Or maybe wife, or mistress.
Cool thought. (about the protection thing)

When I was a kid, a lot of guys- even the non-Catholic and non-religious wore St. Michael's medallions- the Patron Saint of Paratroopers:


St. Michael's Medallion front by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr



St. Michael's Medallion back by Dave The Golden Boy, on Flickr





(I'm not Catholic, nor particularly religious- but notice the wear on the medallion )
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Old 06-29-19, 01:08 PM
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Great thread. Never seen a bike like this one before.
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Old 06-30-19, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dweenk View Post
That bike cost a worker 6 months wages you say, so the worker bought the best he could afford and probably paid saved up cash or installments on a lay away plan. These days in the US the average middle class worker pays 35K for a low end SUV that will never go off road over a 72 month repayment schedule. Most of those will be traded in for newer models within 3 to 5 years in an unending cycle of debt.
Before WW1 the annual salary for a British worker was £40 on a farm, £60 in a factory and £70 down a mine. 10 hours a day, 6 days a week for 50 weeks a year. Paid work for women was less than half that. A women's Sunbeam cost £19 in 1910. So obviously it was a luxury for even a very rich young lady. This one was found in a shed with a bunch of others by a mob knocking down an old nunnery or convent. It had stood forgotten for 50 years and I bought it along with two Hercules and a Rudge before they were scrapped. I imagine the Sunbeam had been donated by a rich benefactor as no nun could have afforded it.
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